I think it's best to (when possible) set aside a lot of time for long runs. Meaning, more than just the run. I made a PB and J sandwich. I drove to King Soopers and bought some vitamin water. I had my iPod ready. Sun screen ready.
It made for a great run. Oh, and the rest day before the long run. I think it will be non-negotiable from here on out, cause it helped a ton to have fresh legs today.
So, with sandwich in a ziplock, drink in right hand and ipod blaring, I went for 6 miles out, drinking a gulp or two every 1.5-2 miles, ate half the sandwich at halfway, then came back for 6 more miles and called it good. Well, I picked up the pace for the last mile, making it in 6:51. It brought my average pace down. It was good to get some faster running in on tired legs, cause while my lungs felt great the whole way, my legs were getting heavy around mile 9. Gotta keep going and figure out a way to build that strength.
My wife suggested hiking, since you can get in a 4 or 5 hour hike which is way longer than you want to spend running on any regular basis, and that might simulate some of the weary leg feelings/exhaustion that a marathon runner has to prepare for. Obviously long runs do that too, but I'm talking about a once a week thing or every 10 days thing, in addition to the long runs. Maybe even a hike and then a 6 or 7 mile run at Marathon Pace right after.
Hmmm. A lot of work, but it might be helpful when trying to even the gap between aerobic fitness and that (I don't know what to call it) "long distance strength/stamina" that I don't want to be lacking in.
4 easy miles tomorrow to finish out the week.